As the blocky exploration game and creativity tool reaches its first decade, our games writer – and the father of someone on the autism spectrum – reflects on the impact it has had
Hidden away somewhere in my attic is an old Xbox 360 that I’ll never throw away. On its hard drive is a Minecraft save file that contains the first house my oldest son ever built in the game. He was seven and, coming from a boy on the autism spectrum with a limited vocabulary and no patience to draw and paint, his creation was a revelation. Sure, it is a monstrous carbuncle, a mess of wooden planks, cobblestone and dirt. But it is also the greatest building I ever saw.
Now Minecraft is 10. The building-and-exploring game, originally developed by one coder, Markus Persson, in his spare time, has now sold 176m copies across 21 platforms. A free-to-play version launched in China via a partnership with NetEase has been downloaded 200m times alone. Every month, 90 million people around the world play Minecraft. There are Minecraft clothes, Lego sets and spin-off games. In spring 2022, there will be a live-action Minecraft movie.
Selected by softengoxford